SCHOOLS in South Tyneside that recruit pupils based on their faith are not being fully inclusive, a new report claims.
The Fair Admissions Campaign has published research into the extent of religious selection in state schools and its effect on social and ethnic inclusiveness.
Nationally, Roman Catholic secondary schools were found to admit 24 per cent fewer pupils eligible for free school meals – a common measure of deprivation – than would be expected given their areas.
Church of England secondaries admitted 10 per cent fewer, while those with no religious character admitted 11 per cent more.
In South Tyneside, schools that allow religious selection have 11.72 per cent fewer pupils eligible for free school meals relative to their local areas.
St Joseph’s Catholic Academy, in Mill Lane, Hebburn, was ranked in the worst three per cent in the country, according to this measure.
The percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals is 8.46 per cent, while the percentage of pupils in the local area who are eligible for free school meals is 22.25 per cent.
However, it was in the most inclusive 30 per cent on the basis of the percentage of pupils who speak English as an additional language relative to their local area.
The borough’s other Catholic secondary school, St Wilfrid’s RC College, in Temple Park Road, South Shields, was ranked in the worst 10 per cent according to the percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals relative to their areas.
Both schools are 100 per cent selective by religion if sufficiently oversubscribed.
Whitburn C of E Academy, which is not selective, is in the 30 per cent least socio-economically inclusive on the basis of eligibility for free school meals.
The percentage of pupils eligible for free meals is 9.52 per cent, compared with a local area percentage of 11.04 per cent.
Principal Alan Hardie said: “At Whitburn C of E Academy, we work hard to fulfil the mission of Church of England schools, established 200 years ago, which is to serve the common good. As a fully-inclusive school, we do not have Anglican faith criteria within our admission policy, welcoming pupils of other faiths and no faith.”
Mortimer Community College, in Reading Road, South Shields, which has no religious character, was ranked in the best five per cent, according to the percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals relative to their local areas.
It was also in the best 20 per cent, according to the percentage of pupils who speak English as an additional language.
The Fair Admissions Campaign, supported by a wide coalition of individulas and national and local organisations, wants all state-funded schools in England and Wales to be open equally to all children, without regard to religion.